Dream Gates

Dream Gates

Dream clues in foreign languages

posted by Robert Moss

arrosoir.jpgWords of foreign languages in my dreams have proven to be keys to very interesting doors in waking life. 

When I was a boy in Australia, a radiant being who insisted in speaking Greek informed me that all true knowledge is “anamnesis”. I discovered that the word means “remembering”, but in a deeper sense than just remembering where you parked the car or left the car keys. Anamnesis, for the Neoplatonist philosophers, is the act of reclaiming essential knowledge of psyche and spirit that belonged to us before we came into our present bodies. When I was able to grasp this, I realized I had been given a key to living the deeper life.
When I moved to the edge of Mohawk country in upstate New York in the mid-1980s, I started dreaming of an ancient woman shaman who insisted on speaking to me in her own language. The call of these dreams and visions was so powerful that eventually I sought out native speakers and linguists to help me identify the phrases I managed to transliterate. My helpers decided I was dreaming in Mohawk, but not as it is spoken today. “You are speaking the way Mohawks may have spoken three hundred years ago. And there’s some Huron in it.” I discovered that one of the funny words in these “Mohawk” dreams – ondinnonk – has a meaning in Native Amercan spiritual practice, as profound as anamnesis for the later Greek philosophers. It means “the seceret wish of the soul”, especially as revealed in dreams. What goes with that is the understanding that it is the duty of decent people, in a society that values dreaming, to gather round the dreamer and help her to tease from her dreams the secret wishes of the soul that they reveal – and to honor those wishes, in the knowledge that if we ignore soul, it will withdraw its energy from our lives.
When I first went to teach in the Baltic, in Lithuania in 2004, I met an ancient priestess (žyne) of the great Earrth Goddess, Žemyna. Like the Mohawk shaman woman, the žyne insisted on speaking her own language, and I needed the help of Lithuanian friends to translate the secrets of divination and healing she gave me, from her own tradition. 
Before I started teaching Active Dreaming in France, I dreamed a curious word, chantepleure, that I find is unknown in contemporary France. (I tested this again during my recent teaching tour in the Midi; not one of thirty French people I questioned understood the word, though they could recognize its component parts, which mean “sings” and “cries”). A chantepleure, I discovered through old dictionaries, is an archaicFrench term for a watering can, which is today called an arrosoir. I wrote down this funny word in my journal after the dream, since that is my practice. I could find no context of understanding at the time.
Three years after the dream, through a string of fresh dreams, visions and synchronicities, I found myself drawn into the world of Joan of Arc and Charles d’Orleans, the prince in whose name she launched her warrior crusade. I discovered that a chantepleure dripping blood was chosen by Charles’ mother as the family emblem, signifying grief and the demand for justice, after his father, the first Duke of Orleans, was slaughtered by ax-murderers employed by the Duke of Burgundy. This trans-temporal adventure is still unfolding. Right after making this discovery, I was invited to teach a workshop at a chateau near Blois, the city Charles most loved.

Invited back to France in mid-November, I again found myself following word-clues. I recount how one of these clues led to an extraordinary menhir (standing stone) in a recent article at this blog (“Dream archeology in southern France”).

So: don’t discard any funny words or phrases that come to you in dreams. They may be clues to things beyond ordinary understanding that will expand your knowledge of the larger reality and your place within it. They can guide you towards cultures and traditions that are relevant to you. They can introduce personalities in other times who may be part of your spiritual family. In the age of Google, it’s easier to track some of these clues than it used to be. Dreams set us very interesting research assignments. And of course they can rehearse you for your travels in this world.

Antique French watering can at Foret

  • Nina

    Thank you very much for a compelling post again.
    When the words or sentences from foreign languages appear in my dreams there is usually feeling of novelty and riddle for me, together with learning something new, unknown and distant. Lately I have been dreaming about a stranger in a white suit. He partially took after Johnny Cash, but he looked more like a native American Indian. He was very composed, nice and reticent fellow and he was going to give a speech about his new book in an assembly hall. I sat down in the last row and he sat behind me. There was a kind of silent friendly understanding between us. Then he stood up and began to speak Spanish. My colleague was standing at front of the room and started to translate him into Slovak, but as if from English language. In a dream I understood his Spanish perfectly (I learnt it twenty years ago at school but I never used it after and forgot most of it; in a real life I wouldn´t understand him). So I got up and told her that she couldn´t translate him as an Englishman. After this incident he decided to put off the presentation of his book until everybody reads it because as it turned out at that time it was just me who went through the whole book. Unfortunately,the only Spanish word I remembered after waking up was hacienda and so far I haven´t made much sense of it. In any case I guess this dream has much to do with my little known, maybe shadowy parts which have something important to share and want to be “read” and understood.

  • Katie

    French is often present in my dreams.In one really old dream I was reading a huge antiquarian book entirely in French ,I was in a very old house which I knew intuitively to be an ancestors, and saw only two things a black and white ledger with an acount of books borrowed and lended and a telescope.
    Some ten years later I got an email from someone with a little extract from a book by one of my great grandfathers, in which he describes being descended on his maternal side from a man called Gallant Hampton who use to borrow and lend books from his fathers “ancient library” ,and who descendened from an old noble kentish family – the family I later found were the Nepueus a french family who fled to Kent during the edict of nantes and married into the Hamptons and Gallants.
    The ancestor who wrote the book was a budding astronomer as was his son who taught astronomy I later found which may explain the telescope in the dream.
    I always get full names and place names in english in my dreams too.Dreams are such a storehouse of knowledge and memory if you are willing to unriddle them.

  • Katie

    lended=lent :-)

  • Margie

    I set a dream intention on 10/2/10: Teach me how to heal myself and others. I was standing with a male figure and we were looking at a city in the distance. He told me one word: Chiron.
    The word sounded familiar to me, but I couldn’t recall where I had heard it. I thought it might be the name of the city. I could type two pages on what occurred dream-wise and in waking life between October 2nd and the 22nd. But will only include one other dream I had on 10/20 with this male figure showing me three surgery tables in the open air (not in a hospital). Suffice it to say that I attended a Healing Touch level 3 class on the weekend of 10/22 and I felt this male presence again. (Healing Touch is a bio-energy healing modality where you use your hands). I kept feeling this entity during the course and I asked him who he was again. He indicated Chiron and told me to research it when I got home. (I mentally noted there were three massage tables set up in the classroom and there were three operating tables in my dream and the teacher said that one person had coined the phrase spiritual surgery). I googled Chiron when I came home and came up with a lot of Greek mythology information, but what especially struck me was that he was known as the Wounded Healer and known for his knowledge and skill as a healer and teacher. In Greek, Kheiron, skilled with the hands also closely associated in myth with Kheirourgos, or surgeon. Did I meet this myth or an essence of this healing myth? Who knows? I do know that dreams led me to discovering and learning about Greek mythology, the Greek language and much more and I’m thankful.

  • Zmievna

    Margie, if the dream of Chiron were mine, I would think that the guy was 1) a beast – a Centaur, who possessed great animal power, but was in control of it, 2) somebody living with a chronic condition – not only was he wounded, but also his wound was poisoned and never healing, 3) so capable and productive despite this condition that mamas and papas and uncle Zeus of a number of great heroes sent their boys to be tutored by him, 4) the best medical school ever, since he raised and taught Asclepius, Apollo’s bastard son and future god of healing and medicine. If I were to dream of Chiron, I would also remind myself of Amfortas, the King of Grail Knights from a medieval tale that lives on through Wagner’s opera Parsifal. Amfortas also suffers from a never healing wound inflicted by his own magic weapon until he is healed by a compassionate “fool”, Parsifal. As an aside, Jung was quite fond of Wagner and of Parsifal in particular. Thank you for bringing up this rich topic!

  • Margie

    Thank you very much for this new (new to me) information Zmievna! I’m going to read about Amfortas next and will also track down Parsifal. You have given me a lot to think about…thank you again.

  • http://www.zianet.com/azima Azima

    A few months ago I had a very powerful dream in which I was on a quest to find an ancestor whose image I could see: He was a tall, handsome man from the time of the French Revolution, in a military uniform, with his own hair tied back, no wig. The dream involved my son taking over the quest, which led me to a deep inner knowing of the suffering that led him to suicide in waking life 6 years ago. But I did see the ancestor, and he said his name was Jacques, which made me think he was of the revolutionary forces rather than the aristocracy, although his bearing makes me feel perhaps he was an aristocratic libertarian who sided with the revolution. Whew!

  • http://www.zianet.com/azima Azima

    Margie, Chiron is also an asteroid (I believe) that astrologers track, and how and when it appears in relations to one’s birth chart always has to do with issues of healing, whether one’s own, or with/for others.

  • Dave B. KY.

    My son and I have a common dream of trying to get bunch of those little monkeys that you see in a circus dressed in those lil red button up band major coats and get them in this little car for the show. You could get maybe three dressed, but by then the others had taken of their coats and took off in diff. directions. and its a long long dream. my son says he feels just nuts after it. I told him it was a clear sign of the futility and frustration in reality that we all feel to some extent or the other. He said well i dont need that and i said well in reality we are distracted by daily affairs and dont feel it like you do in your dreams, he said well that just F$@%^ing sucks whats that supposed to mean and i said well it probably has a slightly diff. meaning for both of us, sometimes its not a meaning but a feeling you get to make you receptive to the day your about to start or new life direction.

  • Dave B. KY.

    Robert you are a very prolific dreamer/writer Ive only had one dream in a different language and didnt hear it in my dream but i was speaking it in my sleep, there were a few people around that heard it and one guy who spoke Spanish said it was Latin but he could only understand a little of it but I know that I awoke and had knowledge that I knew to be the only true knowledge. The knowledge we all have at birth and before, the knowledge we forget very soon after birth. It is very hard to share, language is so cumbersome it is almost impossible to verbalize when you have that instant when you know some soul can be taken out of their suffering for a moment. the music of our souls falls on deaf ears. And it comes and goes when distracted by daily affairs, just like a dream.

  • http://blog.beliefnet.com/dreamgates/ Robert Moss

    Dave – Yes, words slip and slide when we try to describe some of these things, but try we must. Your mention of Latin reminds me that I frequently encounter dream characters who wish to communicate with me in Latin and sometimes rebuke me sharply because my command of Latin (which I studied in school) is very slight.

  • http://blog.beliefnet.com/dreamgates/ Robert Moss

    Dave – Even if the dream and the waking life situation it reflects is frustrating, it is a true gift to be able to dream with another person this way, and that gift can be harnessed and developed to enter more interesting scenarios and even to manifest a better reality.

  • http://blog.beliefnet.com/dreamgates/ Robert Moss

    Azima – What an interesting lead, and what a moving perception of your son’s possible transits in his current reality. Two quick thoughts: (1) if this were my dream I would try to reenter it consciously in order to discover more about the Frenchman (2) I would consider the possibility that it is possible to be reborn in an “earlier” time as well as a “later” one. I am writing about (2) in a new book.

  • http://blog.beliefnet.com/dreamgates/ Robert Moss

    Margie – I would receive this dream as a blessing and an invitation to learn and practice Asklepian healing. You’ll find much about this in my books “Dreamgates” and “The Secret History of Dreaming”. As you now know, Chiron is the mentor of Asklepios and two things vital to this figure and this practice of healing are that (1) the healer is wounded, which reminds us that healing may come through our wounds and (2) he is part animal, which reminds us that reviving and nourishing our animal spirits may be central to following the natural and healthy path of our energy.

  • Margie

    Thank you Azima! I’m going to do further exploring on that aspect of Chiron. It’s amazing what I’ve learned from everyone. I do appreciate your comment as I feel that it is all tied together.
    Thank you also, Robert. I feel that I’m clear on what you’re saying to me. The dream with the tables included many crocodiles. Your response ties a lot of things together. Also, just yesterday I had a wonderful experience with a live snake in my human anatomy class of all things! I have decided that I am going to begin recording these experiences from the first Chiron dream.

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